Ebbsfleet cruise to victory at St Albans City
- Credit: Archant
Title favourites Ebbsfleet United made it three wins in three with a 2-0 victory over a poor St Albans City side at Clarence Park.
Danny Kedwell opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 50th minute and Ian Gayle put the ball in his own net to keep St Albans winless in their first three National League South games.
City had their moments in the first half but weren’t able to capitalise on their advantage. The second half, however, was poor. Long balls towards Simon Thomas were too easily dealt with but at no point did the Saints change their strategy, and they were made to pay against a Ebbsfleet side that were not at their best.
Gayle went straight into the starting line-up following his return to the club on Friday while City’s other new signing, Ghassimu Sow, only made the bench. Louie Theopahnous shook off a knee injury to start in a front two with Simon Thomas, but Darren Locke missed out after picking up an ankle injury on Monday against Oxford City.
St Albans started the game brightly and spent the first five minutes in Ebbsfleet’s half. It was the visitors, however, who had the first shot, a easy save for Joe Welch from Matt Godden.
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From there on out, City showed promise, albeit without an end product.
Simon Thomas lashed wide in the fifth minute and a good spell of pressure, which saw a cross just sail over Ben Martin’s head and James Comley shoot wide, came to nothing.
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Too often City opted for the wrong option when in good positions. Allen hesitated on the ball in a three-on-three and eventually lost it, while Hilliard surrendered possession on the right time after time. More often that not, though, Simon Thomas was utilised as a target man.
At the other end, former Hemel Hempstead captain Jordan Parkes had a glorious chance to open the scoring in the 12th minute but he headed over from inside the six-yard box. For the majority of the half Welch was kept relatively quiet, although he produced an excellent save to tip Godden’s header over the bar. It wouldn’t have counted either way as the flag was raised.
Ebbsfleet took the lead in the 50th minute through Kedwell. Parkes won a penalty after being hauled down by James Comley, playing at right back, and the former Gillingham striker blasted his spot-kick down the middle.
It could have been two almost immediately after but Godden couldn’t hit the target from the back post following Kedwell’s low cross.
Two good chances for City followed, with Martin heading wide and Chappell smashing a shot out of the ground, before joint managers James Gray and Graham Golds rang the changes. Jack Green, who won the game for City when the teams met at Clarence Park last season, and Billy Medlock replaced Hillard and Theophanous.
The substitutions didn’t change the way the attacked, with Simon Thomas still the target for the long ball, and they were made to pay in the 75th minute when Clark was gifted a goal. A corner should have been cleared and it was eventually kicked against Gayle and the ball hoped into the net.
Comley left the field 10 minutes later with a bloody nose, replaced by John Kyriacou, capping a miserable afternoon for City at Clarence Park.
St Albans City: Welch, Comley (Kyriacou - 84), Chappell, Thomas, Gayle, Martin, Allen, Corcoran, Theophanous (Medlock - 67), Thomas, Hilliard (J Green - 67). Subs: Sow, Coulton.
Ebbsfleet United: Hall, Fish, Howe, Rance, Clark, Bonner, Godden (Hayes - 63), Parkes, Kedwell (Cunnington - 74), Kissock (Lewis - 74), Willmott. Subs: Acheampong, Miles.